FAQ: Frequently Asked Question.

In this section, we answer FAQ related to school life, school tuition, community but also FAQ related to Covid 19.

How do you function during a pandemic?

The French American Academy abides by the Federal (CDC), State and local guidelines. As long as it is authorized we welcome students in school and we offer “in person” education. If we have to close, we switch to “Remote Learning”.

What is “Remote Learning”?

The term was developed in February 2020 while we were preparing to close the school due to Covid 19. The management team set up a task force and started assembling education concepts and protocols to keep maintaining school while the students were sheltered at home. This set of rules became known as “remote learning” protocol.

The term “remote learning” defines now the concept of “school at home”. It is also known as “distant learning” or “distance learning”.

What is your health protocol related to Covid 19?

During Covid 19, we have assembled a committee of doctors and health experts also parents of students enrolled at The French American Academy. Indeed we felt the need to consult and discuss with health professionals. As a result we were able to compile a set of rule under the term Covid 19 Handbook.  While this handbook is a dynamic tool and will most likely be updated as we go, it provides numerous answers to  Covid 19 related questions. Please contact us at info@faacademy.org for more information.

How many students are in a class?

Answer valid for “non Covid” period.

We truly believe big things happen in small classes. Our classes don’t exceed 16 students in Pre-K and K.  On average, our elementary school classes have 14 children. Smaller classes allow us to give our students more individual attention, which helps them excel both academically and socially.

In Elementary and Middle School, classes can welcome up to 18 students.

Do you give homework?

It is our belief that homework fosters student achievement, independence, and responsibility and serves as a vital link between school and home. It is the intention of the French American Academy staff to assign relevant, challenging and meaningful homework that reinforces classroom learning objectives.  Homework should provide students with the opportunity to apply information they have learned, complete unfinished class assignments, and develop strong work habits.  Next homework serves as one form of communication between the teacher and the family by providing parents with further information regarding their child’s learning.  Finally homework is a vital part of each student’s academic year.

It is important, however, that homework is managed in a way that does not add stress to family life.

Recommended Time Allotments for Homework

We know that the amount of time it takes each student to complete homework assignments will vary.

The following chart indicates and approximates what we believe is the appropriate amount of time for children in each grade to spend on homework.

 

GRADEFRENCH AND ENGLISH PER SCHOOL DAYTIME OF READING INCLUDED
KindergartenMaximum 15-20 minutesRead daily
First GradeMaximum 30-40 minutes10 min, then 15 in January4 times a week
Second GradeMaximum 30-50 minutes20 min 4 times a week
ThirdMaximum 45-60 minutes20 min 5 times a week
Fourth GradeMaximum 60-70 minutes25 min 5 times a week
Fifth GradeMaximum 60-80 minutes30 min 5 times a week
6th & 7th GradeMaximum 70-90 minutes30 to 40 min 5 times a week

Independent reading is included in these guidelines and is adjusted as the year goes on.

How do we compare to Montessori?

Maria Montessori was a wise woman whose expertise with children and unique teaching philosophy spread rapidly throughout North America during the 20th century. Her core beliefs centered on small classroom size, manipulatives that link math and geography to day to day life and, promoting a sense of independence within the children.

The philosophy at the French American Academy, includes some of Maria’s best tenets: small classroom sizes help us to know each student well and give them adequate support in a differentiated environment. We also embrace life-based teaching.  But, our educational approach goes further, by proactively promoting 21st century skills required in today’s world. Our modern culture includes an ever-changing global environment.  We believe that if the children attending The French American Academy are to succeed we must enhance their ability to understand, communicate and collaborate with others of varying backgrounds.

Science is also part of our project-based instruction, including a daily problem solving exercise.

Our bilingual program opens minds to global citizenship, and advances presentation skills. The true bilingual education opens the mind exponentially allowing the brain to learn and connect beyond words.

Please take 2 minutes to watch our video “the path we choose”.

Do you teach handwriting?

We do. Our children learn to write in cursive. Also in Pre-K 3 and 4, they start to write in upper case while practicing their fine motor skills with loops and bridges on dry erase boards or paper. In Kindergarten, they start to write in cursive. In first grade, handwriting is a well-established skill which enables us to focus on other academic subjects in the later grades.

How is time divided between French and English?

At 2 years old, 90% of the curriculum is taught in French. Then, as the children get older, the number of hours taught in English slowly increases (3 hours per week at 3 years-old, 6.5 hours in First Grade). In Middle School, they will receive 55% of teaching in French and 45% in English. The ultimate goal at FAA is to raise children equally in both languages.

What if you don’t speak any French?

In pre-school, it is not required for a child to speak French. While 1st grade and up, prior knowledge of French is required. Moreover, we offer language support for children who may need extra help in French or English. This is truly a nurturing environment and we do everything we can to give all of our students the support they need.

Does the school provide transportation?

We do provide transportation between Hoboken-Weehawken and Jersey City. In addition we can extend to the Newport area, Bayonne or Union City if needed.

Also we are planning a daily shuttle from New Milford to Jersey City in the morning hours and from Jersey City to New Milford in the afternoon hours for Middle School students only.

Is lunch provided?

Both campuses offer hot lunches. You can choose to sign up for the lunch program or provide a boxed lunch for your child.

What grades does the school serve?

Our New Milford campus serves children from 2 years of age through 5th grade.

Our Jersey City campus serves children from 2 ½ years of age through Middle School.

Aren’t grade structures a little different in French and English?

They are. This chart should help clarify.

Table showing a comparison of French and American school classes grades and cycles.

 

What are the school hours?

Classes start at 8:30 or 8:45am and end at 3 or 3:15pm depending on the grade and campus. We strongly encourage punctuality as this helps children transition smoothly into their working day. Before school care is available at 7 or 7:30am and after school care is available until 6:30pm.
What are the class hours?

Is there a dress code?

In Middle School, students wear a uniform. 

There is no uniform in Preschool nor in Elementary school.

When does the school close?

Our school is closed for one week in October and three days for Thanksgiving.  We are closed two weeks in December, one week in February for mid-winter recess, one week in April for Spring break, and one day for Memorial Day.

What is the difference between afterschool and enrichment?

Our afterschool program focuses on French language development, while our enrichment program includes a variety of offerings such as art, robotics, lego, sports, chess, theater, Spanish, etc.

What is Common Core?

The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have adopted the Common Core (http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/). However, New Jersey has adopted a revised and renamed version with few substantial departures from the original.

The state Board of Education approved the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, a roadmap that will outline what skills students should learn in each grade level.

“It won’t be substantially different,” said Mark Biedron, president of the state board. “We looked at everything to make sure that it was crystal clear, age appropriate. Yes, there were some changes, but there were not major changes.”

New Jersey will maintain about 84 percent of the 1,427 math and language arts standards that make up Common Core, according to the state. About 230 standards will be modified.

Some of those changes will result in moving a standard — like when students should be able to distinguish long and short vowels — from one grade level to another. Others involve minor changes to the wording of a standard to clarify or enhance it, according to the state.

The new standards have been in effect in New Jersey schools beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

What is the French Bac, OIB, FAB or IB?

The FAA, as an accredited French school, supports the regular French cursus ending with the French Bac in 12th grade.

The French Baccalaureate

It is a three-year college-preparatory program culminating in a rigorous examination that marks the end of secondary school studies and determines university eligibility. To succeed in this exam, students must demonstrate thorough knowledge in a wide variety of compulsory academic disciplines as well as in-depth understanding of their chosen field of specialization. In France and in the United States, French schools prepare students for the Baccalaureate with academic concentrations in one of three streams, or séries, corresponding to their scholastic aptitudes or future college plans: Languages and Literature (L) Economics and Social Sciences (ES) Mathematics and Experimental Sciences (S).

The French Bac is currently under revision by the Emmanuel Macron’s government and a revised Bac will be in place in 2021.

The International option of the French Baccalaureate — American Section

The American section of the International Option of the French Baccalaureate (OIB) combines the breadth and rigor of the French Baccalaureate with extra subjects taught and examined in English, resulting in a bilingual, bicultural diploma.

Students in the OIB program have the opportunity to take English language and literature and history and geography courses taught from an American perspective by certified American and French teachers.
The OIB provides students with a university entrance qualification valid in both the U.S. and France.

It makes academic and linguistic demands on an equal level in English and French.

The College Board and the French Ministry of Education work in partnership to implement and ensure the quality of the American section of the OIB.

Download the brochure

 French American Bac

Created in 2011, the is a binational baccalauréat, which combines the academic demands of Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses and exams, operated by the US College Board with the widely recognized excellence of the French baccalauréat managed by the French Ministry of Education.

The FAB is currently available only in the United States (at Lycee Francais of New York and Los Angeles) and is really suited to students who are completely proficient in both English and French and who can successfully manage the double demands of American APs and of the French Baccalauréat.

The IB – International Baccalaureate

(http://www.ibo.org/about-the-ib/) It is a different organization offering a specific curriculum. Founded in 1968 in Switzerland,  The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is led by the Board of Governors, the Director General and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). The IB offers an education for students from age 3 to 19, comprising of four programmes that focus on teaching students to think critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic.

 

These FAQ are not exhaustive. We are trying to cover frequently asked questions. For additional FAQ please send us an email at info@faacademy.org or call us a 201 338 8320.